Training and Education Sets You Apart

Quality education is key to ensuring competence and professionalism in the security industry. Classes that are structured and presented in the right way give security service providers the tools they need to do their jobs well, which means that customers are happier and businesses are more successful.

The Security Industry Association (SIA), Alexandria, Va., is proud to be a leading provider of educational programs for the security industry. We have developed--and continue to improve-- intensive, cost-effective courses for central station operators and security project managers, and we are working to meet the critical need for competency standards in the industry.

SIA’s central station training (CST) course provides information about the entire process of training a central station operator from experienced instructors in the classroom, not online. It identifies the necessary elements of an in-house training program and teaches techniques for evaluating progress and working with students to improve their performance. Just last month, in August, we added new features to the CST course, including ETL certification, instruction on how to read formats with an explanation of the various languages and expanded guidance on alternate signal delivery to include IP and GSM.

Upon completion of the CST course, the graduate becomes both a SIA-certified operator and a SIA-certified trainer, authorized to certify his or her own operators.

“As a result of attending the CST course, I was able to streamline the existing operator training to include more standardized procedures and workplace scenarios for our colleagues,” said Andrew Skehan, Quality Analysis Specialist in Citizens Financial Bank’s Capability Investigations and Physical Security Division. “It made me rethink my approach to projects and issues.”

The Certified Security Project Manager (CSPM) course offered by SIA gives graduates a nationally recognized professional accreditation for project managers, but also includes something that nearly all other project management courses do not: a focus on security. For the security professional, this can be invaluable, providing guidance specific to their field that they cannot get from other classes.

The CSPM program is designed specifically to address the practical aspect of designing and managing security projects. It requires candidates to demonstrate their skills in implementing the concepts and tools of professional project management in a security context and gives them the ability to, as one graduate from Siemens said, “run a large project more efficiently, effectively and profitably with, of course, a greater level of customer satisfaction.”

SIA is also taking a “big picture” approach to education through its Curriculum Map and development of “essential bodies of knowledge.”

The online Curriculum Map provides skills assessments and directions for training. After completing a knowledge assessment, the user is advised on the best choices for courses offered throughout the industry, not just by SIA, to advance his or her career.

In addition, the association has put together teams of experts to research and analyze the elements of knowledge, training, technology and rapidly changing customer expectations that define the fields of physical security and security project management. The “essential bodies of knowledge” that will result will be the first steps toward creating a common ground for our industry and transforming the way companies recruit, qualify, train and retain employees. They will be living documents that record, synthesize and summarize the physical security and security project manager occupations.

Security is obviously a fast-changing industry, and in such an environment, continuing education is a necessity. SIA is proud to take a leading role on this issue and we look forward to partnering with others in the industry to make education a priority.

Arminda Valles-Hall is director of the Education Department for the Security Industry Association. For more information about SIA Education, visit or contact Arminda at (703) 647-8583 or